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    • Join Date: Feb 2010
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    #1

    for more than a century

    Dear teachers,

    I'm in doubt about the meaning of this sentence:

    "The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a former 2,800-square-kilometer
    marsh that has been drained, diked into islands, and farmed
    for more than a century".

    Am I right in understanding that "FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY" refers only to "farmed"?

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    #2

    Re: for more than a century

    Quote Originally Posted by giuly90 View Post
    Dear teachers,

    I'm in doubt about the meaning of this sentence:

    "The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a former 2,800-square-kilometer
    marsh that has been drained, diked into islands, and farmed
    for more than a century".

    Am I right in understanding that "FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY" refers only to "farmed"?
    Interesting question. I would say so, yes. It is the more likely interpretation in any case, and is supported by the comma after "islands".


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    #3

    Re: for more than a century

    I would include the draining and diking activities in that century.

  1. kfredson's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: for more than a century

    Quote Originally Posted by giuly90 View Post
    Dear teachers,

    I'm in doubt about the meaning of this sentence:

    "The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a former 2,800-square-kilometer
    marsh that has been drained, diked into islands, and farmed
    for more than a century".

    Am I right in understanding that "FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY" refers only to "farmed"?
    Yes, it seems clear from the context that all of these activities have been happening for more than a century.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: for more than a century

    Quote Originally Posted by kfredson View Post
    Yes, it seems clear from the context that all of these activities have been happening for more than a century.
    I'm not so sure. It's a 'former' marsh, so the draining is not still occurring, but the farming is.
    I wonder if anyone knows what actually happened historically.

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    #6

    Re: for more than a century

    The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a former 2,800-square-kilometer
    marsh that has been drained, diked into islands, and farmed
    for more than a century.
    Normally, a comma is not put before an 'and'.
    With the comma being there, doesn't it make a difference to the sentence?
    Only farmed for more than a century?

  3. kfredson's Avatar

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
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    #7

    Re: for more than a century

    Quote Originally Posted by tedtmc View Post
    Normally, a comma is not put before an 'and'.
    With the comma being there, doesn't it make a difference to the sentence?
    Only farmed for more than a century?
    When "and" follows a string of items I consider the use of a comma is considered to be optional. Sometimes it can make things clearer. Here, for instance, it seems better to include a comma so that the eye quickly recognizes the pause between "diked into islands" and "farmed." Writing "diked into islands and farmed.." could lead to at least a momentary confusion. I know that there is some debate out there, but I would prefer to use a comma when the meaning --or just the rhythm--of the sentence calls for it.

    Therefore I don't think that the comma solves the question of which of these activities was done "for more than a century." I see Raymott's point; this sentence does seem to be ambiguous, regardless of how it is punctuated.

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